Over the course of the next three months I will be sharing the authors who feature in the Smorgasbord Bookshelf with the books that I have reviewed and can personally recommend.
In this first part of the summer fair, I am sharing books that are the first in a series in both adult and children’s books along with one of their five star reviews. I hope that this will encourage you to enjoy the series in full. I will feature every author on the shelves by the end of the summer. I hope you will enjoy.
The first book today is the paranormal romance – This Second Chance (Angel & Evildwels Series Book 1) by D.L. Finn – the first in a series of novels and short stories.
About the book
Newly married Rachael Battaglia finally had it all. The only detail that stained Rachael’s perfect wedding was a gift she received. It was the exact present that her late ex-husband had given her on their wedding day — a snow globe. That marriage was not what she had envisioned, and she endured years of his abuse and charm until one night she escaped with two kids and one on the way. Now Rachael was headed to Hawaii with an amazing man and her chance at happiness. Unbeknownst to Rachael, she had an Angel on her side, although this Angel might not be able to save Rachael and her family from the evil that surrounded them. This is a tale of love, past relationships, things unseen, and redemption. Will Rachael find her happy ending, or will this evil thing get its way?
My review for the book 16th January 2021
This story is about good and evil and how it lives side by side within individuals, with the choices we make, the only barrier between them. We all like to believe in second chances, but not everyone deserves them. However after suffering an abusive marriage, Rachael and her children are now being offered a new life with a wonderful man who would move heaven and earth to ensure their happiness.
When an evil spirit is also moving heaven and earth in search of revenge, it is a fight for survival for this new family and those they love. It will need the power of redemption and forgiveness, and a helping hand from a higher power to overcome the dangerous entity hunting them.
The past is entangled in the present, and unraveling the mystery of why the family has been targeted moves at breakneck speed towards the explosive climax.
The author has done an excellent job creating the two worlds inhabited by the characters who are bound to each other in desperation and in hope. There are elements of a number of genres including romance, paranormal and thriller and it is action packed from start to finish. A recommended read.
A selection of books by D.L. Finn
A recent review for A Voice in the Silence
One of the elements I enjoy about a D.L. Finn novel is that she always finds a way to weave animals into her story. I’ve come to expect that. What I didn’t expect was the creative and original way she chose to do so in this novel.
Drea Burr has been going through the motions since her husband passed away. She lives in a remote forest location that adds to her solitude, until one day, a dog, a cat, and a rat show up within moments of each other at her home. What follows on their coattails is a whirlwind of a story that includes a serial killer, ghostly interventions, a villain with connections to a drug cartel, and splashes of sci-fi. There’s even a light romantic thread.
It’s hard to say much about this book without giving away spoilers, but the plot quickly involved me on an emotional level. I loved the characters. Drea was especially strong. She didn’t back down when threats engulfed those she loved. Her devotion to the animals and theirs to her was particularly touching. The ending wraps everything with a tidy bow and leaves the reader with a wonderful warm glow. A thoroughly enjoyable read!
About D.L. Finn
D.L. Finn is an independent California local who encourages everyone to embrace their inner child. She was born and raised in the foggy Bay Area, but in 1990 relocated with her husband, kids, dogs, and cats to the Sierra foothills in Nevada City, CA. She immersed herself in reading all types of books, but especially loved romance, horror, and fantasy.
She always treasured creating her own reality on paper. Finally, being surrounded by towering pines, oaks, and cedars, her creativity was nurtured until it bloomed. Her creations vary from children’s books, young adult fantasy, and adult paranormal romance to an autobiography with poetry. She continues on her adventures with an open invitation for her readers to join her.
The second book today is Women Who Walk, a collection of stories about women who have travelled far from home to settle in Portugal which I can highly recommend… by Louise Ross.
About the book
What compels someone to leave their country of origin, which is the story before their departure? What happens to them on their journey to the new place, which is the story of getting from one place to another? And what causes them to finally land somewhere and decide to stay, if not for the rest of their lives, then for an extended period? Women Who Walk: How 20 Women from 16 Countries Came to Live in Portugal is a collection of 20 interviews with a diverse group of expatriate women. Their personal narratives tell tales of world travel and cultural immersion as a form of higher education, a vehicle for personal growth and expanded awareness of self and others, and an instrument for greater understanding and appreciation of the differences that today too often separate us. Readers will find these shared experiences, communicated honestly and openly, sometimes with humor, sometimes through tears of loss, courageous, uplifting, poignant and inspirational, a reassuring reflection of their own life journey.
My review for the book February 12th 2022
I have always considered myself to be nomadic, and have trouble at times identifying exactly what nationality I can claim. Hence stories of these women and that of the author are fascinating in many respects, and I immediately related to each and every one of them.
The accounts begin in childhood and as their lives unfold, it is evident that the reasons to leave family and culture behind are sometimes complex. We join them on their journeys as they absorb life, learn new skills, find love, have families of their own and finally lay down roots far from home.
What struck me was the bravery that was required, particularly in the 1960s and 1970s for these young women, to head into the unknown. Although some did have travel companions, it still required an enormous leap of faith. The stories also highlighted the resilience and ingenuity required when arriving in a foreign country, usually without an adequate grasp of the language, to find employment and the means to remain for an extended period.
Some of those featured spent many years travelling around the world, visiting remote regions to work within charity organisations, global companies or other organisations such as the United Nations before arriving in Portugal. Whilst these postings were by nature temporary, what comes across is that few of these destinations provided all the elements needed to call home. Be it environment, culture, people and in some cases weather, Portugal has provided many of those elements in abundance.
Apart from the individual accounts, it is also a very useful guide to living and working in Portugal. The acceptance into the tight-knit Portuguese community, bureaucratic complexities and life within the expat groups offering a wide variety of cultural and creative programmes to assist in the integration.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about courageous and adaptable people who travel the world in search of a place to call home… and anyone thinking of living in Portugal.
Also by Louise Ross
About Louise Ross
Louise Ross is a writer, speaker and podcaster originally from Australia. She has lived abroad since the mid ’80s, first in the U.K. and France, followed by the United States, where she completed graduate studies in Jungian Psychology. In 2014, she moved to Portugal and from 2015 to 2017, Louise was President of the Executive Board of International Women in Portugal (IWP), a social organisation with a fluctuating membership of 250 to 400 expatriate and immigrant women.
Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books. Sally